Andhra Pradesh

‘Curbs at Vizag airport in the interest of passengers’

Visakhapatnam Airport.

Visakhapatnam Airport.   | Photo Credit: C.V.Subrahmanyam

Navy seeks to allay apprehensions on timings

The proposal to have dedicated flying slots for military and civilian aircraft at Visakhapatnam International Airport was taken to ensure the safety of passengers but not to curtail passenger flight movements, according to Commodore Satyen Vartak, Command Aviation Officer, Eastern Naval Command (ENC).

He gave a PowerPoint presentation at INS Dega here on Wednesday to allay the apprehensions being expressed by various sections of people on the proposed restriction of civilian flights and the possible adverse impact on the economy of the city.

‘Partner in growth’

The Navy has been a partner in the growth of the city and has been partnering with the district administration and the Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority to provide better services to the citizens. The 24/7 operation of civilian flights at the airport, which is a joint civilian-military airfield, had commenced in January 2014. The civilian flight movement, which were 11,268 during 2013-14, increased to 19,956 during 2017-18. The civilian flight movement at present are between 70 and 80 a day.

Similarly, the military flight movements have also increased over the past five years. The average military aircraft movement, which at present are 130 a day, are expected to go up substantially. Further, the presence of hills on three sides is unique to Vizag airport, which makes it a unidirectional runway, where safe approach can only be from the sea side.

Another limitation at the airport is the absence of ‘parallel taxi track’. Commodore Vartak said: “We have been trying to acquire land on lease to provide parallel taxi tracks and Visakhapatnam Port has agreed to give land for it. Civilian flights prefer to land and take off from the seaward direction, and this causes delays in arrivals and departures of flights.”

Plea to operators

Rear Admiral Mahesh Singh, Chief Staff Officer (Operations), ENC, said that no flights would be curtailed or restricted as the revised proposal was to have only three hours of military flying. The airline operators could change their schedules accordingly as the proposal, if cleared, was to have military flying only between 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. from Monday to Friday.

RADM Singh said that dedicated military slots were under implementation in the Goa and Pune airports, though they had higher civilian aircraft movements. Capt N. Thiagarajan, Commanding Officer, INS Dega and Capt C.G. Raju, Command PRO were among those present.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 5:02:48 PM |

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